I wonder if you can remember back to the 1982 movie The Man from Snowy River. It was very successful, receiving several wards. And a truly Australian story about, among others, young Jim, who earned his right and respect of others by his heroic efforts in recapturing a young colt that had got away, living with the wild brumbies.
It was a good storyline and there was certainly some great action in it. So it had all the elements of a good film. Jim was the hero, and most Aussies like their heroes—I guess it’s part of the Australian character to hold up and honour people who have distinguished themselves in some way.
Sometimes heroes are unlikely people—ordinary, humble, maybe poor yet hardworking. There is no class distinction when it comes to heroes. The Man from Snowy River—based on a poem of the same name written by A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson—defines the qualities of an Australian hero:
down-to-earth, true blue, a dinky-di fair dinkum cobber, a bottler of a bloke, honest as the day is long, and not afraid of some hard yakka.
Becoming a Man
It is the story of a young mountain man in Australia exceeding all expectations as he becomes a man—and, of course, wins the favour of the young lady for whom he has fallen. Jim returns—to the shock of all—having single-handedly gathered all the stray cattle left behind by the seasoned drovers. I feel the same thrill every time I see it.
In this story there is a beautiful stallion. Whenever he is running down the side of the mountain, his muscles are bulging out with strength. Whenever he stands up on his back hooves, you cannot help but admire his grace and power. But the horse was out of control. Instead of being an asset, he was a menace, leaving destruction behind and leading other horses astray.
Not until the hero captures the stallion and brings his power under control does the animal become valuable. As the story goes, Jim grew up with horses and learned from his dad and the famous drover named Clancy. He had the ability to do what finally brought him recognition and affirmation that he had become a man.
I guess what attracts me to the story is that I was born in the Snowy Mountains area and have seen some of the rugged country that Banjo Patterson’s poem depicts. I was bought up on a farm in that area.
But I want to say something about the spirit of young Jim who became a man—the man from Snowy River. He proved himself. His father was killed and he had a rugged time growing up with others looking on: Will this guy be any good? Is he really a man with courage and determination? In the end he proved he was.
He faced up to the challenge of life. And I’m sure that’s what all of us need to do. We all know that life isn’t that simple and that throughout our journey in life we might face numerous challenges, problems and setbacks. If you’re one of those fortunate people who have not had any of that, I’d be interested in hearing from you.
None of us likes difficult situations in life. It is one of the deepest desires in our life to avoid difficulties. A lot of our prayers are in the hope that our difficulties will be taken away, or that we will have a comfortable time.
But as we trust in God, our Heavenly Father, we can face everything that comes our way. We don’t have to shrink back or be afraid. We can be bold, just like Jim in The Man from Snowy River. Why? Simply because every challenge can be a blessing in disguise.
Facing Life’s Challenges
Life’s challenges—you will have them. When you come up against a problem, it will demand a decision.
When faced with decisions, there are four ways to deal with them:
- The first way is to run back to the past and live there. Many things in the past were good things and good ways, but they are outmoded for today. Old-fashioned is another way of putting it. When people run back to the past, they refuse to handle the present.
- The second way to handle a challenge is to escape into the future. Escaping into the future causes many to become dreamers. They live in presumption; they can’t seem to grow roots in the present. The result is that they cannot bear any fruit in the present. Sometimes people get so caught up in the future that they forget to take pleasure in what they have now.
- The third way to handle challenges is to detach yourself from the challenge. In this detached state, people live in the present, but they are detached, disillusioned, and refuse to commit to the activities of life. They grumble and complain. They can’t handle the change so they escape from the world.
- The fourth way is to take your present and transform it. This is the best way to deal with your challenges. You face life every day and you transform it into something else. Everyday challenges come to us both as justice and injustice, pleasure and pain, and compliment and criticism. We have to hold on to one and let the other go. There is no dodging, no escaping.
Look at Jesus. He marched straight into life and transformed it. He faced temptation in the wilderness and the temptation strengthened him. He took 12 ordinary men and made them apostles with anointing power. He sat by a well when a woman came by to draw water; Jesus led her into a new life and a whole village was changed.
Listen Christian, you don’t have to run from anything. Jesus wants to lead you out of your morass, those things that swamp and sink you—situations that confuse you and swallow you up. Are you facing the worst? Then take your challenge and turn it into the best. Sin put Jesus on the cross; he used that cross to save your soul.
Jesus being put on the cross was man at his worst; Jesus through the cross showed God at his redemptive best. He made everything live.
If you want to be a hero, in the true Australian way, become a committed Christian and live for Jesus. There will be lots of adventure for you!